Everybody plays the fool.


Rigoletto has seen it all. He’s the court jester, spinning other people’s suffering into entertainment. But behind his bitter façade, Rigoletto holds one thing sacred: the love for his daughter, Gilda. After a vengeful curse makes Gilda the target of the Duke’s dangerous obsession, will Rigoletto’s fatherly devotion be enough to save her?

Music by Giuseppe Verdi | Libretto by Francesco Maria Piave

Sung in Italian with English supertitles

Rigoletto Program Articles

Verdi's "Rigoletto": Ahead of its Time

Verdi’s 17th opera blazed a number of fresh trails, thereby acquiring a stamp of modernity.

Heart and Soul

In this Q&A, Hawaiian baritone Quinn Kelsey discusses performing one of his signature Verdi roles.

Anatomy of an Opera

The sets for the Company's production of Rigoletto were inspired by Italian artist Giorgio de Chirico.


Every once in a while a warhorse redefines itself. This happened last night in San Francisco when Rigoletto propelled itself into the ranks of the great masterpieces of opera as theater — the likes of Falstaff and Tristan and Rossini’s Otello.

Opera Today

Quinn Kelsey commands the stage like a king, with an authoritative, lustrous lyricism that fills the house, and a masterful portrayal of a father whose daughter means everything to him.

San Francisco Examiner

Music Director Nicola Luisotti led a first-rate performance by the Orchestra. Verdi’s brilliant instrumental narrative took hold and rarely slackened.

San Francisco Chronicle

Rigoletto regally holds court!

San Francisco Examiner

Pene Pati comes across as an almost boyish, though exuberantly puckish, playboy...his voice was clarion clear and hit all the high notes.

San Francisco Examiner

Nino Machaidze's warm, ample voice glided smoothly, most enchantingly in 'Caro nome.' 

San Francisco Examiner

Quinn Kelsey's Rigoletto is worth the price of admission! 

San Francisco Classical Voice

Quinn Kelsey delivered an austere but movingly nuanced title performance.

San Francisco Chronicle

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A court jester's love for his daughter becomes blinded by deadly revenge on the licentious Duke of Mantua. 

Read Complete Synopsis ›

Pre-Opera Talks

Free to Ticketholders 

For every performance, join us in the Orchestra section 55 minutes prior to curtain.

The Expert: Emily Laurance

Learn about the opera’s music, characters, composer and historical background.

Watch the Video

Can’t make the Pre-Opera Talk? You can also watch a video.

Cast & Creative

Rigoletto Quinn Kelsey
Gilda Nino Machaidze*
The Duke of Mantua Pene Pati
Maddalena Zanda Švēde
Sparafucile Andrea Silvestrelli
Count Monterone Reginald Smith, Jr.*
Marullo Andrew G. Manea *
Borsa Amitai Pati *
Count Ceprano Anthony Reed
Countess Ceprano Amina Edris


May 31
June 6, 9, 14, 18, 22, and 27
July 1, 2017

Conductor Nicola Luisotti 1
Conductor Jordi Bernàcer 2
Director Rob Kearley*
Set Designer Michael Yeargan
Costume Designer Constance Hoffman
Lighting Designer Gary Marder
Chorus Director Ian Robertson
Choreographer Lawrence Pech
Fight Director Dave Maier

 * San Francisco Opera Debut

1May 31; June 6, 9, 14, 18, 22, and 27

2July 1

Previous performances of Rigoletto can be found in our Archive.


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This production is made possible, in part, by: Bernard and Barbro Osher; Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem, through the Conductors Fund; and Joan and David Traitel, through the Great Singers Fund.


Support Your Opera

Give to our Spring Challenge! Thanks to Ann and Gordon Getty, longtime friends of the Company, all new and increased gifts of $75 or more received by July 31 will be matched. New gifts will be matched two-to-one, while increased gifts will be matched dollar for dollar! Learn More.

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Photo (top): Illustration by Matt Leunig. Design by Mission Minded.